In the aftermath of a series of run-ins with county code enforcement officials, Sunny Acres founder Dan DeVaul faces at least $22,000 in fines and the total number of residents at his sober living facility has dropped roughly in half.
Some of the 28 people who remain are living in tents, and DeVaul's been ordered to gut a stucco barn that once housed many.
Nevertheless, the often-cantankerous DeVaul said that he's cautiously optimistic a solution can be found that will allow the facility to house more people at the nonprofit center in the long term.
Among the promising signs that DeVaul noted in an interview:
County supervisors have expressed a willingness to work with his center.
A citizens group has formed to help. Among other things, they're planning on planting shrubs at the edges of his ranch, which sits just outside San Luis Obispo on Los Osos Valley Road.
About 50,000 pounds of scrap metal have been removed from the property, and he's in the process of getting rid of some
25 vehicles that neighbors have called an eyesore.
Ultimately, DeVaul said, he hopes the Board of Supervisors will allow him to expand a farmhouse or renovate the barn without obtaining a conditional use permit, which would require a process he calls too costly.
County code officials didn't return a call for comment by press time.